Islamabad: Pakistan`s new Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud has met journalists, ending speculation about his death, and vowed to avenge drone attacks and the killing of his predecessor Baitullah Mehsud.
Hakimullah Mehsud met reporters on Sunday in the country`s tribal area for the first time since gaining control over the militant outfit, Dawn reported on Monday.
His dramatic appearance finally ended speculation that he was killed in a leadership battle within the militant group, sparked by the August slaying of Baitullah Mehsud in a missile strike.
Hakimullah Mehsud, flanked by other Taliban commanders, spoke to the media on condition that the interview be published on Monday.
He said his group would avenge the killing of Baitullah Mehsud and strike back at Pakistan and the US for the growing number of drone attacks in the tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan.
Unmanned drones have carried out missile strikes, killing several senior militant commanders along with sympathizers and civilians.
Pakistani officials had said earlier that Hakimullah Mehsud was killed in a recent shootout within the Taliban.